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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 Review

December 1st, 2017 by

dawn of war 001I have to confess to have never played a Warhammer computer game.  Nor have I moved those highly detailed, meticulously hand painted lead figurines around a table with a group of friendly yet unwashed men.  It always struck me as Lord of the Rings in space.  The Space Marines with their huge shoulder pads, straight out of the 80’s TV soap opera Dynasty.  The Eldar Elves with their huge swords and shields and the Orcs with their huge green faces and huge hammers.  Nor have I ever a set foot in a Games Workshop store, I wouldn’t want to damage what little cred I have with the opposite sex would I?

Everything is so big.

The campaign mode sees you play each opposing side on alternate levels.  17 levels to be exact.  This has apparently differed from the previous games which would focus on the humans.  Like any good RTS games, your objective is to build your forces so you can go on the offensive.  You can’t just sit back and mine resources, which I tried.  You will be sitting there for hours.  You have to steal specific points on the map so you can build generators.  You then upgrade your generators to be more efficient and add defences.   So, I would get resources, build a generator, get more resources, build some troops, build some tanks, etcetera, etcetera.  Then I would steam in to battle and…..


You see, I am not really very much of a tactician when it comes to these kinds of games.  I always feel that there is strength in numbers.  However, it’s not quite that simple here.  Here you have unique abilities for your individual platoons and when you start this is where is started to get a bit overwhelming.  You can’t pause the game to make decisions so as I was being ambushed, I would randomly select different abilities in a blind panic.  Hence the death.

Real Time Strategy (RTS) games also tend to share the same issue; seemingly there are times where your troops will simply ignore a nearby battle.  No doubt having a fag, a coffee and chatting about  last nights I’m a Celebrity episode.  Or, if they are like me, bemoan about the fact that I have had to go into another room being banished from the lounge so the Mrs can watch I’m a Celebrity.  Here’s a pro tip, sighing and tutting during I’m a Celebrity does not a happy marriage make.  You opinion does not figure into the equation.  You are either with I’m a Celebrity or against.  The argument against appears to be in the minority so it is best to hide and wait it out.  Oh the wait is so long, and dark.

Back to the game, I often had to question sometimes the route troops would take to get from one point to the next.  I would travel, what I thought was a pretty straight line to my objective, get absolutely hammered by the enemy and send in some more troops.  Only to find said troops going a completely different way and ending up in another battle and dying.  Once I had got the hang of it there was nothing quite as satisfying as amassing a horde of high level troops and laying waste on mass to one single building.  As long as I planned the route they would travel in advance.

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Each faction you play has different abilities.  Orc’s can hunt for scrap and make big towers that pump out rock music to motivate the troops.  The Eldar, who in fairness take themselves far too seriously, can teleport and use stealth units.  Whilst the humans are a good balance between firepower and armour.  Each faction has its own Elites with their own abilities ranging from giant leaps to WWE style piledrivers which send the enemies flying into swinging hammers.

The campaign mode itself was OK, if a little unoriginal.  In the most part, each level would give you a number of smaller objectives to complete followed by a pseudo boss battle at the end.  There were some inventive levels scatter throughout, but for the most part they were all fairly similar.  It was a nice touch to play different sides but it did slow down the pace of the story progression.  Each stage can vary in size from 30 minutes to an hour so there is a fair amount of game here.  I did find that when I was playing the Eldar levels a difficult and complicated affair.  If I saved and came back a day later I had forgotten how to do some things, like teleport bases.  This often led to me restarting the level.  One significant bugbear was the lack of any Auto Saves.  After over an hour playing a level, to then die because you forgot to save is, not only bloody frustrating, but also so 90′s.

Multiplayer mode see’s 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3.  There is not a massive amount of maps and they principle revolve around taking down Power Cores.  Let’s just say I died even more than I did in the single player.  These guys were hard-core.  If you can imagine that if a single player games can last up to an hour, online matches would last 10 minutes at best.  I was in a constant state of panic. I wasn’t a fan.

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The overall experience was very pretty and good to look at and certainly wouldn’t tax a mid end PC like mine.  The music was excellent, if a little repetitive.  With it multitude of bewildering options for each set of troops, deciding on which platoon types to manufacturer with my limited resources and the more powerful single Elite characters, it often felt like an exercise in trying to juggle 15 balls at once, all on fire.  But it was a decent enough game none-the-less but one that seems less focused on tactics and more on trying to remember what everything does.  I just wish it would have done something a little more original with the genre.

Oh, and you can even virtually paint your troops.  Just like the real thing.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 7.5/10     Format:  Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Steam   Release Date: Out Now

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 10 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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